Research shows that it’s expected that four of five people will use their smartphone as a bill payment device by 2016. Last year, the smartphone users that paid bills through their mobile phones was 185 million, but that figure is expected to grow to over 550 million. As the popularity of paying bills, buying items and spending is becoming more common nowadays, the idea for retailers is to change the way they sell products and services completely. With the latest Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, smartphone users can simply key in their PIN code and pay for items without the need for credit cards, cash or even a sales assistant.
In a similar way to supermarket self-service checkouts, shopping is set to change forever. Purchases on the high street will be quickly, there will be fewer queues and there will be a lack of actual currency exchanged. There are some that say there is a security risk with the ‘tap to pay’ technology, but merchants and banks will ensure there is a low limit for payments, or that extra security measures such as security questions will be required for large purchases should the mobile phone be stolen.
As banks are including their services for smartphones, such as the Mobile Bill Presentment and Payment (MBPP) service, users can use apps to pay their bills such as utilities and obviously there mobile phone contract bill. Experts expect that mobile phone users that do not feel confident in using their phone as a payment device can still use traditional ways until mBanking is more mainstream, which is why the rolling-out of services isn’t expected to take hold until 2016. Many people are unsure of mobile transactions due to malware and spyware, as there is a lack of Internet security for mobiles compared to computers and laptops. Older people might also resist the change as the technology might be too much, but in a similar way to Direct Debits and deposits of pensions as well as using PIN numbers instead of signatures, the way of the world just takes a little time to adjust.
Reports also found that web-browser, SMS and app triple-play solutions have increased hugely. Mobile payments will also help those that live in rural areas that might not have their bank branch nearby or for people that do not have the mobility to physically pay for items will simply be able to use their smartphone to conduct their payments and business online without leaving the home.
As the change in the style of payments is still quite new and we are still scratching the surface of what mobile phone payments and banking can achieve, there is a rush of mobile security development at the moment to catch up with the latest payment processors. Once there is a common ground, whereby smartphone users are content with the security and there are more payment options, then we could see the last of carrying a wallet full of cash around with us and even our credit and debit cards too.